The New England Patriots power structure is one where Bill Belichick is essentially in charge of the football operation. His bio on the Patriots website only references coaching, but he is effectively the executive in charge of football operations in that organization.
His No. 2 on the personnel side is director of player personnel, Nick Caserio. He has held that title since 2008, but according to reports, he has since his responsibilities increase since 2013 after Floyd Reese departed the organization. Belichick is in charge, but Caserio handles many of the day-to-day duties of a GM.
Boston Herald Patriots writer Jeff Howe recently put together an extensive feature on why the Patriots cannot afford to let Caserio leave the team. The hiring process means a lot of features about strong GM and coach candidates are out there. Yesterday, I posted a FanShot with this Sean McVay article. With this Caserio article, I wanted to post it separately with a few of the more notable points.
According to the article, Caserio takes the lead on contract and trade negotiations. It talks about the extensive work he has done in recent years, with trades for the likes of tight end Martellus Bennett, cornerback Eric Rowe, and linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Barkevious Mingo.
It then went into detail about how he has developed a strong relationship with the coaching staff. He is believed to be someone who could potentially be paired with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. According to Howe, Caserio attends almost every practice, and, “re-watches every practice tape in his office.” Howe says Caserio regularly meets with the whole coaching staff to discuss player evaluations. We have heard criticisms in recent days that 49ers GM Trent Baalke rarely spoke with the coaches.
There is even an amusing anecdote about how Caserio gets involved at practice, working with some of the positional drills. He apparently beat out Josh McDaniels for the quarterback job at John Carroll University, and still likes to do some throwing. We joke about “Coach Trent,” but Caserio actually spent a season as the Patriots wide receiver coach after three years as director of pro personnel.
These glowing features always focus on the positives, so we do have to take them with a certain grain of salt. They could write one on each notable candidate, and I might be prepared to jump on board. But with Caserio, you have a guy who has learned from the best, and has grown into a key role in the current Patriots dynasty. Some people will say, it’s all Belichick, but I imagine every executive out there is part of a collaboration. It is not easy to assess the skills from there, but the anecdotes in Jeff Howe’s feature provide some valuable details. Give it a read.